Governor Mills Announces Acting Commissioner for Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Sara Gagné-Holmes, a five-year deputy commissioner with a long record in health policy, will begin in the interim role on June 1

Governor Janet Mills announced today that she is appointing Deputy Commissioner Sara Gagné-Holmes to serve as Acting Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, effective June 1, 2024.

Deputy Commissioner Sara Gagne-Holmes

Gagné-Holmes, a Deputy Commissioner since 2019, will lead the Department in an acting capacity following Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew’s departure on May 31, 2024.

“Deputy Commissioner Gagné-Holmes brings a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as the respect of her colleagues, to the position of Acting Commissioner,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Having served as Deputy Commissioner for more than five years, she deeply understands the operations of the Department and will ensure that it remains in capable hands as I continue to consider candidates to succeed Commissioner Lambrew and carry forward the important work of advancing the health and welfare of Maine people.”

“I’m honored to step into the Acting Commissioner role to advance the Department’s mission of ensuring health, safety, resilience, and opportunity for Maine people,” said Deputy Commissioner Sara Gagné-Holmes. “I look forward to the opportunity to build on Commissioner Lambrew’s transformative leadership of the Department and to advancing our vital work during this transition.”

Deputy Commissioner Gagné-Holmes grew up in Sanford, earned an undergraduate degree at Bowdoin and a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law, and served as a law clerk with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. She practiced law with a focus on health care at a Maine firm before serving as a Health Policy and Legal Advisor in the Governor’s Office under Governor Baldacci and led work in non-profit advocacy and philanthropy. She joined Maine DHHS in March 2019 and has served alongside Deputy Commissioners Benjamin Mann and Beth Hamm in the Department’s senior leadership team.

Governor Mills announced earlier this month that Commissioner Lambrew would step down at the end of May to accept a position leading national health policy development and to teach at Harvard University. The Governor continues to consider candidates to serve as Commissioner of the Department and is expected to name a nominee in the coming weeks. That nominee will be subject to a hearing before the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee and confirmation by the Maine State Senate.